Tag Archives: Opening Day

Opening Day Meditation: How I Learned to Stop Hating the New York Yankees

(click to enlarge image)

New Hampshire Magazine’s Photoshop guy is phenomenal. Yes, I did go to Yankee Stadium for this story, but the yoga happened at their Manchester newsroom. That’s a Kevin Youkilis jersey in case you were curious. (Double click to read story)

It’s Opening Day: Yankees vs. Red Sox — and let the gloating begin!

Based on the injuries the Yanks are battling with A-Rod, Jeter and Texiera, there’s a fair chance that Boston and New York will be fighting each other to stay out of last place this year.

Sure, celebrating would be premature at this point, but fans in Baltimore, Toronto and Tampa Bay have to like their chances in the AL East where the Sox and Yanks used to trade off the division title and the Wild Card every season.

Before the Sox took their depressing nose dive, I surprised my son with a Yankee Stadium trip to see the home team when Sox-Yanks tickets at Fenway were simply unaffordable. To my surprise, I liked many of the people sitting around me despite my lifetime of regarding Yankees fans as arrogant, obnoxious punks. You can read my humble attempt at a Nobel Peace Price nomination in the April issue of New Hampshire Magazine, on newsstands now.

contributors New Hampshire Magazine Darren Garnick
I love this cover, especially since New Hampshire was recently ranked as the Least Religious State in America by the Pew Research Center. The Red Sox is a more popular religion around here than Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism combined.

My first cover story for New Hampshire Magazine explores the die-hard subculture of Red Sox fans in the Granite State -- and their state of mind after one of the worst seasons in Sox history. (Cover design by J Porter)

My first cover story for New Hampshire Magazine explores the die-hard subculture of NH Red Sox fans — and their fragile psychology after one of the most disappointing seasons in Sox history. (Cover design by J Porter)

We left no New Hampshire baseball angle unexplored, even tracking down Carlton Fisk’s 1963 high school yearbook. He’s the guy holding the trophy on the far right.

What if Carlton Fisk had decided to pursue pro basketball instead of pro baseball?

What if Carlton Fisk had decided to pursue pro basketball instead of pro baseball?

You can read the full story here.

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Filed under New Hampshire Magazine, Red Sox, Red Sox Schlock

The Virtual Hassles of Virtually Begging for (Non-Virtual) Red Sox Tickets

When the best players in the Major Leagues "only" earned $1 million salaries, $5 tickets were still a reality. (Autographed by Sox closer Bill "Soup" Campbell).

When the best players in the Major Leagues “only” earned $1 million salaries, $5 tickets were still a reality. (Autographed by Sox closer Bill “Soup” Campbell).

For the first time in my 30-plus years worshiping the Red Sox, I’m going to Opening Day!

My son and I will be sitting behind a pole in the infield grandstands, where we have been warned that either the catcher, the pitcher “or both” will not be visible, but hey, seeing 7 out of the 9 players is better than only seeing five or six. Maybe I won’t need to see home plate if the Sox don’t score. And maybe I’ll be happier NOT seeing Jon Lester depending on whether he’s having a Charlie Brown kind of day on the mound or not.

Pretty much describes the 2012 Red Sox starting rotation.

Pretty much describes the 2012 Red Sox starting rotation.

Healthy cynicism aside, I’m looking forward to experiencing the pageantry and eternal hope of a new season and bragging rights of being there. My dad has been a great dad but he would’ve been even greater if he had taken me out of school to see a ballgame.

What I’m not so thrilled about is the Red Sox tradition of Crappy Customer Service.

I entered an online drawing for an EXCLUSIVE TICKET OPPORTUNITY to buy up to four seats for Opening Day or for a Yankees-Red Sox game later in the year. I “won” a spot to enter the Virtual Waiting Room yesterday and logged on promptly at noon, the first moment they were taking orders. I stared at the screen (while typing other work) and a running shot clock told me how many seconds were left before they’d try to let me get to the Virtual Ticket Window.  This took at least 40 cycles.

Once I was in, I clicked on every seat category under $55 (see my childhood ticket stub above) and the computer said there was nothing left. Meanwhile, a 2:30 shot clock runs at every stage of the process, warning you that another fan will get your slot in the waiting room if you don’t finalize the transaction (this involves typing in credit card numbers, security codes, passwords, mother’s maiden name, blood types, etc.)

With no tickets showing up as choices, I clicked on “Best Available,” knowing that if they gave me the $170 Pavillion Club, I’d have to bail out. The system is not forgiving. If you don’t want what they offer you, you cannot log back on for more options.

After finally making it to the purchase round despite my unreliable Internet connection, I was greeted with the following screen:

"We're sorry, we were unable to process your request due to high transaction volumes. Please try to submit your request again." (Click to enlarge)

“We’re sorry, we were unable to process your request due to high transaction volumes. Please try to submit your request again.” (Click to enlarge)

Blaming my frozen screen on HIGH TRANSACTION VOLUMES?  Isn’t that the reason for shoving us all in the virtual waiting rooms in the first place? Yes, I know I have become one of those unstable angry Internet people I try to avoid whenever possible. The kind of people who would call me up when I was a newspaper reporter and yell at me for getting their paper tossed in the snow or missing the Sunday coupon section.

I’ll be able to focus on the moment when I’m at Fenway Park and will try to channel that feeling of being there as a kid again. But right now is time to vent. I know I’m a sucker for fighting for tickets to see the Last Place Boston Red Sox, but do we all have to put up with Last Place Customer Service, too?

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Filed under Red Sox, Sports

Opening Day Hooky

Instead of taking a vacation day or personal day, Fred Flintstone sneaked out of work incognito to go to a baseball game. Dishonesty is never a smart career move.

Sneaking out of work to go to the ballpark is a time-honored tradition that dates back to at least 1962, when “The Flintstones” first chronicled the practice. Fred plays hooky from his job at the quarry to go to the baseball game with Barney. To get in free on “Ladies’ Day,” he disguises himself in one of Wilma’s old dresses.

Much to Fred’s embarrassment, he runs into his boss, Mr. Slate, who is entertaining a client at the game. Spoiler alert: Fred miraculously gets away with the charade.

Not many fans go to such extremes. But at today’s Fenway Park home opener, there are bound to be a few who are watching the Sox-Yanks battle on company time. If you’re planning to be one of them, you need to take precautions.

Although I NEVER advocate lying to the boss for any reason, I’d hate to see a career senselessly ruined over a Sox addiction. In today’s Boston Herald, I share some exclusive tips to avoid being caught at the game.

As an aside, revisiting this Flintstones episode reminded me of my old age. I remember sitting in the Fenway bleachers when they were backless benches instead of seats. And things would get a little too cozy with the other fans, especially the tipsy ones who couldn’t hold on to their beer trays.

Fredericka Flintstone demonstrates the flaws of the old Fenway Park bleachers.

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Filed under Boston Herald Columns, Flintstones